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Reviewing footage, making plans, and films.

We’re nearing the end of another season of Making Media That Matters. We only have a few weeks left! We began the session promptly at 4pm at Impact Hub. The filmmaking mentors wanted to open the space by checking on the production process. They asked each team to show the entire group some of the footage captured from last week’s session. A few groans arose. It’s hard to have your work viewed mid-process, before editing and music and the right angles are selected. A few participants seemed excited to hear feedback, while a few others seemed anxious. I kind of giggled to myself, completely understanding both reactions.

We went through the first team’s footage (affectionately titled the Anxiety Crew), which is shot from a point-of-view perspective. There were a few short scenes of a teenager being dropped off at school by her mother (we all loudly laughed when Kristle, one of our filmmaking instructors, was revealed to be her “mom”) as she begins navigating her school day. The point-of-view perspective was a cool choice, as the camera panned to the actress’s hands and feet fidgeting nervously, bumping into someone as she goes through the school doors. The student sitting next to me was the actress in the film, and she was whispering hilarious asides to me while we watched – explaining that she had to hold the camera up on her shoulder or right at eye-level to get the point-of-view experience. I imagine it’s difficult to be both an effective actress AND camera person at the same time. Some feedback and accolades were given and then we were on to the next.

The next few scenes were shown by Flying Octopus Productions. The scene was a high school student trying to film a cheery segment for her youtube channel, but the video was interrupted by her parents arguing. (Again, we all laughed as the “parents” were played by another filmmaking instructor, Marie, and her boyfriend. 😊) This team showed a few different shot options, demonstrating differing angles. One of the filmmaking instructors asked if there was anything that they could have done better, and the actress said, “Um, my hair?” which cracked us all up. The team had turned one of the offices at Impact Hub into a bedroom setting, so there was discussion about how to make it more bedroom-like, and how to eliminate some of the glare bouncing off the walls. There was a round of applause, and we moved onto the last group!

​Sol Media Productions was the last group to show their footage. They explained that every bit of it was unusable, as one of their actresses had pulled out of the film recently, do to her Father being “uncomfortable” and not “wanting anyone to get the wrong idea” about his daughter. The film is a gay music video. The irony was not lost on us…here we are, attempting to change the narrative of an extremely white, heteronormative, and male-dominated industry by giving girls an opportunity to produce a film from that challenges the dominant paradigm, and then their film is thwarted by (what seems to be) homophobia. The team showed us the scenes shot anyway, even though they have to seek a new actress for the role. It’s such a shame that the actress wasn’t allowed to continue, because the scenes were adorable and creatively shot. They really seemed to capture a budding relationship in an endearing and relatable way.

After everyone demonstrated their progress, the students split into their production teams to resume filming and/or planning. I was in charge of social media for the evening, so I poked in on Flying Octopus

​Productions to see if I could get some good shots for Instagram. I sat quietly in the back corner, getting a few fun boomerangs for insta and just enjoying watching the crew work together. This is my favorite part – watching the teams’ film, work through problems, talk through shot lists, and figure out lighting and audio. We were all crammed into a small space, so I jumped up every time the director yelled “cut!” to take a quick picture. They seemed to be working together very well, so I left and went searching for another team.

In the front of Impact Hub, the Anxiety Crew was at work, filming a party. Impact Hub is perfect for this, as there are comfy chairs and sofas with colorful pillows, making it look just like a living room at someone’s house. We are so lucky to have access to this space! Since Sol Media was busy trying to find a new actress and planning reshoots, they settled in on the couch as “guests” at the party, which allowed them to work and be a part of the scene as extras. Perfect! This (the Anxiety Crew) is the film that is shot from a point-of-view perspective (mentioned above), so I laughed as the actress tried to nail a scene in which she awkwardly gets up from a chair and trips on the rug. They discussed how to best film it, and ultimately decided that having the camera go straight into the carpet would be most realistic. I took a few more pics for social media, laughing that the girls would instantly pose whenever they noticed me. After the crew completed the scene, we went for a walk outside to do some location scouting. We wandered around, looking for a perfect spot (that ideally wouldn’t require a permit) to film the next scene. We found a few options, then took a group boomerang for insta stories.

​After that, it was time to go home! We all gathered together to say goodbye, and Vera asked each team how they felt about the night’s progress. Most seemed pleased with their work, with answers like “We were on the same page tonight” and “We’re learning to make things more dynamic” and “We got everything done in just a few shots, which really showed how productive we were tonight!” I told the group how fun it was to watch them collaborate and create together and thanked them for letting me “creep” on them for social media. :P

And that’s that! Another session in the books! Or, er…in the film library? 😊 Many mahalos to all of the production crews and staff for working so hard to make these stories and visions a reality.

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